Kawhi Leonard is battling against persistent inflammation and may not be available for Game 1 of the playoffs

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Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard has been dealing with “very stubborn inflammation” in his surgically repaired right knee for nearly three weeks, and his availability for the Los Angeles Clippers’ playoff opener against the Dallas Mavericks is uncertain.

The Clippers, seeded fourth, will host the Mavericks, seeded fifth, on Sunday.

“Although progress has been made, the inflammation still needs to decrease for him to perform basketball movements comfortably,” said Lawrence Frank, the president of basketball operations, on Thursday. “We are optimistic that he will improve.”

Leonard hasn’t played since March 31 and missed the final eight games of the regular season. Earlier this month, he received an injection in his knee, as reported by The Athletic, citing unspecified league sources.

“We cannot comment on specific treatments,” Frank stated. “He is making efforts, and we are providing him with medical assistance.”

While Leonard has been involved in film sessions and studying the Mavericks’ strategies, he hasn’t been able to engage in on-court contact, Frank mentioned.

Kawhi Leonard

Following Coach Tyronn Lue’s apology for his visible frustration with repeated questions about Leonard, Frank addressed reporters, aiming to be transparent about the situation.

“I am trying to provide as much clarity as possible,” Frank said. “It’s unpredictable. If his condition continues to improve, there’s a chance he’ll play.”

Leonard had his healthiest regular season in four years with the Clippers, playing in 68 games and averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists as an All-Star forward.

“He thrives in these situations. He prepares himself to perform at his peak when needed,” Frank noted. “If he is not in optimal health, he will not compete. When Kawhi is fit, he plays.”

Frank clarified that Leonard’s current inflammation is unrelated to previous knee issues.

Last season, Leonard participated in the first game of the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns before sitting out the final three games due to a torn meniscus in his right knee.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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